BACK TO BACK FOR AMBROSE
Entering the final lap of Race 22 at Watkins Glen, it appeared as though Kyle Busch had the victory in hand before he lost control of his No. 18 car in the first turn of the final lap (photo courtesy: Jerry Markland, GETTY IMAGES SPORT)
Marcos Ambrose recorded the second win of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career and second straight at Watkins Glen International -- Race 22 of 36 en route to NASCAR’s series-crowning Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 16-18. Tickets for Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 16-18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are available now. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.
Ambrose got by Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski on a wild last lap to score his second straight Watkins Glen victory.
Busch had the lead as the white flag waved but got loose and was hit from the rear by Keselowski, who drove into the lead and -with reports of oil on the track - became locked in a side-by-side battle with Ambrose’s Richard Petty Motorsports’ Ford Fusion.
Ambrose finally got by with only a couple of corners remaining around the historic road course and went on to score his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory.
“It feels so good to be back in Victory Lane,” Ambrose said. “The oil was getting worse and worse. Oil was moving around the track. You take your chances. You have to commit at that point. That’s the way racing should be and we got the No. 9 to Victory Lane.”
Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the first five finishers.
“Just good, hard racing ... some beating and banging,” Keselowski said. “I think that’s the way racing should be. It’s great to race against guys like Marcos that you can run on, lean on and don’t lose their cool, and intentionally wreck you. That’s what racing is supposed to be, right there: a little bit of bumping and rubbing but none of that intentional wrecking. Marcos is a class act and that’s the way racing should be.”
Pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya was among several drivers who had early problems in Sunday’s attrition-filled race. The South Florida resident and 2010 Watkins Glen winner was inside the top five when he broke a control arm, sending him to the garage and eventually to a 33rd-place finish.
“We had a car to win today," Montoya said. "It was looking really good and everything was going according to plan, and then I hit a curb and all of a sudden it wouldn’t turn."
Others who had issues included Montoya’s Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Brian Vickers and Denny Hamlin - who had a fire break out on his car after his engine expired.
Johnson is the new points leader after Dale Earnhardt Jr. slid late in the race to finish 28th. Johnson leads Greg Biffle by one point with Matt Kenseth two behind and Earnhardt now 17 back.
Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman are the two Wild Card leaders with four races left in the regular season.
Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt Jr. had dismal finishes, spinning out as the race wound down. Earnhardt said he lost control on his own but Gordon, who lost a top-10 finish on the last lap, blamed the build-up of oil on the track. They were scored 21st and 28th, respectively.
With Earnhardt’s poor finish and Johnson’s strong outcome, the latter moved into the point lead, gaining three positions. Biffle and Kenseth moved into second and third while Earnhardt slipped to fourth. Johnson leads with 777 points; Biffle has 776 and Kenseth 775 while Earnhardt trails the leader by 17.
In the all-important wild card standings, Kasey Kahne leads with Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Gordon immediately behind him. The Chase will consist of the Top 10 drivers in points plus the two drivers from 11th to 20th with the most wins. Tickets for this year’s Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 16-18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are on sale NOW. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.
Next up for the Sprint Cup Series drivers is Michigan on Sunday, August 19 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN, MRN Radio) — en route to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 16-18). Tickets for Ford Championship Weekend—Nov. 16-18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway—are available now. For ticket information, click [HERE] or call (866) 409-RACE.